The Garage Long term diaries CLAIMED COMBINED CONSUMPTION 8.04L/100KM | STARTING KILOMETRES 2718KM | DURATION 4 MONTHS
FTEN, though not always, a long-term test will end with you feeling more positive about the car in question than when it began. In a road test or comparative environment flaws are often brought into sharp focus, but over a longer period of time they can seem less of an issue.
Maybe your rear end becomes more accustomed to the ride quality, or you find a way to drive around that annoying lump in the power curve, or you discover that with practice you can successfully navigate the confusing infotainment – whatever the shortcoming, extended exposure and the human ability to adapt usually means it becomes less of a problem over time.
But what about the reverse? Would a car that impressed mightily on first acquaintance lose its lustre when subjected to the day-to-day grind?
In effect, it’s attempting to turn a whirlwind holiday romance into a longer-term relationship, which is seldom a good idea.
The Skoda Octavia RS230 will give us a chance to test this theory, joining the MOTOR garage for the next four months. It comprehensively mauled the Subaru Levorg GT-S in a recent comparison test (MOTOR March 2017) in a similar manner to Amanda Nunes taking down Ronda Rousey – boom, 18 seconds, out for the count.
It was far from a winner by default, though, impressing with its cohesive dynamics, impressive ride and unbelievable value. Its excellence led us to ask the folks at Skoda, ever so nicely, if we could run one as a longtermer.
And thankfully, they said yes.
The car in question is an RS230 O wagon in Moon White, one of two metallic hues that ask for $500 extra. Black is the other, but if it were our money we’d stick with one of the standard colours (red or that weird battleship grey that seems to randomly pop up on VW Group products) and pocket the change.
‘Our’ car also comes fully loaded, though with the RS230 there are only four options: the aforementioned metallic paint; sunroof; automatic tailgate opening and the Tech Pack.
The sunroof is a single-panel unit on the sedan ($1500) or a dual-panel panoramic setup on the wagon ($1700). It’s quite cool, but I could easily do without it, particularly as the full-length glass roof does make the car a bit of an oven when left in the sun on hot days.
The automatic tailgate is handy, though anyone with arms wouldn’t miss it, but the Tech Pack is a worthwhile addition, for reasons I will go into in a future update. All up, the Skoda Australia website quotes a driveway price of $50,680 with a fiveyear extended warranty, though that price could vary slightly from state to state. A sedan in red with only the Tech Pack optioned drops that to a reasonable $46,290.
Regardless of the body style, you score a 2.0-litre turbocharged fourcylinder producing 169kW/350Nm, fed to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and, crucially, a mechanical limited-slip differential. Essentially, it’s a Golf GTI Performance with a DIY gearbox and more practical bodyshell. It’s rarer, too, as just 70 examples in total (sedan and wagon) are expected to reach our shores.
Is driving a manual every day a pain? Does the Skoda suffer for not having VW’s DCC adaptive dampers? Will I join any exclusive Freemason-type clubs for owners of sporting wagons, meeting in dark alleyways to talk trash about SUVs?
All this and more will be revealed in future updates, as the impressive Octavia RS230 attempts to extend the honeymoon period. – SN
Performance wagons are cool
Time already going quickly
Using the light, easy gearshift on an everyday basis